'Horrible' flats for the elderly, likened to the Berlin Wall, opposed by Bushey residents

Residents meet to protest about the development in 2012

Residents meet to protest about the development in 2012

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Residents opposing plans to build a new independent living scheme overlooking their homes have said the development would be "monstrous" and "similar to erecting the Berlin Wall".

Abbeyfield has applied to demolish two buildings it already owns in Bushey Hall Road and construct two three storey buildings, comprising of 22 flats for elderly residents, connected by a further two storey building.

The flats could replace the two existing buildings, 61 and 63 Bushey Hall Road, which have been deemed "unfit for purpose", and the facility will provide "modern specialist homes" -  independent living in self-contained flats, with a provision of communal facilities.

Ian Shermer lives in Grove Hall Road and his house would be overlooked by the new development.

The 52-year-old driving instructor said: "This is a horrible development, and we will fight it all the way.

"We have several objections, one of which is the fact it is an overdevelopment. Lots of residents' homes, incluiding my own, would be over looked by the monstrous development.

"Another issue is parking. The road is already packed and there is no room for more cars.

"The developers tried to tell us in 2012 that people over 50 don’t drive - well that is ridiculous.

"We were also told that the residents could end up being able bodied people, if they moved in with a spouse who was ill and they passed away. That would cause even more parking issues.

"Developers wrote to us last week and told us the new plans take into consideration our views. That is simply untrue. We had a meeting for one hour, and none of our concerns were listened to."

"The lady who used to own the home would be turning in her grave. She left it with the agreement that a proposal like this would not go ahead.

"This is all about profit and has no consideration for nearby homeowners."

Conservative councillor for Bushey North Leslie Winters said he will speak as advocate at the planning meeting.

He said: "There is a lovely village feel to where developers are proposing to build, what they want to do would cause a blight to the entire area.

"In 2012 150 turned up to a meeting about this and I believe now we would get more people."

Abbeyfield put in a similar application in 2012 but withdrew its plans after Hertsmere Borough Council planning officers indicated it would not approve the proposals.

A report by planning officers said there was confusion over proposed usage - it was believed the build would fall under a residential institution, but now falls under a residential development.

As such, the development would have implications for affordable housing, parking provision, and amenity provision.

Abbeyfield said this new application takes into account the detailed issues raised by those living around the site.

Richard Virr, head of development at Abbeyfield, said: "As a country we need to provide ever increasing amounts of specialist accommodation for our current and future older people and this scheme will make a significant contribution to this community’s needs."

"We have taken on board the detailed comments from residents and made a number of changes to the proposals to address them.  For independent living schemes like this to be able to include essential communal facilities there needs to be a minimum number of residents to make it viable.  The scheme therefore balances the competing demands of the needs of our residents and the requests of our neighbours."

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